Airbus Group Innovations

Bombardier Belfast is an integral part of the world’s third largest civil aircraft manufacturer. The operation sits within Bombardier’s Aerostructures and Engineering Services business segment, and specialises in the design, manufacture and after-market support of complex composite and metallic aerostructures, including wings, fuselages and engine nacelles.

It is the largest investor and manufacturer in Northern Ireland, with a workforce of around 4,200. Since 1989, investment of over £2.7 billion has significantly extended the capabilities of the Belfast operation. In addition to supplying all Bombardier’s families of business and commercial aircraft, Bombardier Belfast produces aircraft components for other international manufacturers.

Bombardier Belfast created and managed the baseline mechanical test programme for investigation of a range of titanium additive manufacturing processes. The scope of work included evaluation of coupons for tensile strength, fatigue life and fatigue crack growth performance in various build orientations. Electron beam powder bed and laser powder bed technologies were included as well as, wire TIG and blown powder, high deposition processes.

As an OEM within the consortium Bombardier Belfast also identified and co-ordinated two demonstrator programmes, again covering both powder bed and high deposition technologies. An optimised nacelle hinge design was provided to Renishaw and MTC to allow manufacture of a number of test components, for evaluation at ESA, and a large landing gear rib geometry was provided to Norsk and IREPA to allow development of manufacturing strategies for a range of typical geometry features leading to manufacture of a full scale demonstrator.